What Are the Rules for Medicaid Qualification (Part 1)? - Assets

assets assistance attorney eligibility medicaid qualification mediciaid michigan nursing home qualify Jan 02, 2017

What Are the Rules for Medicaid Qualification (Part 1)?

Medicaid is a federal program that provides health coverage for people with limited assets and incomes. It covers the cost of nursing home care for those who meet the program’s economic requirements for eligibility, and in several states, it will also pay for care in your home!

Though it’s a federal program, Medicaid is administered by the states. Federal law empowers each state to enforce Medicaid eligibility rules according to its own interpretation. This means that application of these rules can vary significantly from state to state and, in some states, from county to county. Qualification for care in your home is also different for qualifying for care in a nursing home.

Your Medicaid planning advisor can best help you determine how the rules apply to your specific circumstances in your specific locality. Before you get into the specifics, however, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the general federal guidelines for Medicaid qualification that apply everywhere.

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Generally speaking, assets fall into two categories: “countable” and “non-countable”. To qualify for Medicaid benefits, a nursing home resident can have only $2,000 in countable assets in 2022. What this means is a person trying to qualify for Medicaid is only allowed to have a maximum of $2,000.00 of assets - period - in their own name.

The spouse of a nursing home resident, or “community spouse”, can retain between a minimum of $27,480.00 and a maximum of $137,400.00 (2022) of the couple’s joint countable assets. (These amounts are adjusted annually for inflation.)

Certain assets are not counted in arriving at this amount. They include:
  • All or part of applicant’s principal residence (Check with your Medicaid planning advisor.)
  • Personal possessions (furniture, clothing, jewelry, etc.)
  • One motor vehicle (some limitations apply to unmarried people)
  • Prepaid funeral plan for applicant
  • Burial space for applicant, spouse or family members
  • Life insurance (up to a certain limit)
  • “Other assets” needed to raise the community spouse’s total income up to the statutory minimum (Check with your Medicaid advisor for how this applies to you.)
  • If you don’t own a home, you may purchase a “life estate” in a child’s or others home as long as you live in the home for at least one year following the purchase of the "life estate." A life estate is the right to live in a residence without owning it.
  • A home owned with a sibling and you resided in the home for at least one year.

Give yourself the best opportunity to qualify for Medicaid coverage. Check back, for additional information, as we continue our series - What Are the Rules for Medicaid Qualification?

Learn more about applying for Medicaid in Michigan here.

The Cost of Long Term Care Means That Medicaid Can Apply to You, Even if You Currently Believe It Doesn’t

Questions? Contact us today (248)278-1511

This article, in our series regarding Medicaid qualification rules, by Michigan lawyer Nicole Wipp and the Family & Aging Law Center PLLC is not, and should not be construed as, legal advice. It is for general informational purposes only. To better understand how this legal concept can be applied to you, consult with an attorney.